I got a copy of Phil Vassar’s Traveling Circus CD today. The official release date is Tuesday, Dec. 15 – so you can all get ready for that. I did what I usually do when I get a CD to review – I put it in the CD player, and listened to the first minute of every song – and then went back and listened to every song in its entirety so I could write about it.
However, before I ever put the CD on, I had two complaints … I love Phil Vassar, but I didn’t like the cartoon image of him on the CD cover. Oh, I know – it’s artistic, and there are a bunch of small photos inside titled “Photo Book” – but that wasn’t quite enough for me. I wanted a picture of Phil on the cover, not a drawing of Phil.
My second problem with the CD before I listened to it – it was really hard for me to read the little pamphlet inside the CD – you know, stuff like who wrote the songs and the lyrics, because they were in white type on top of a picture – almost a painting – of circus tents railroad tracks, and I’m not sure what else. A magnifying class helped me through that little problem – so now let’s get on to Phil’s music.
I’ve been a Phil Vassar fan since what I call his pre-“Carlene” days – I think Phil was the first artist I saw at a Walmart promoting his CD. What a talented songwriter this guy is. Not to mention talented pianist. And, talented singer. OK, is there anything he can’t do? Somehow I doubt it.
When I put the CD in, I immediately understood why he released “Everywhere I Go” as a radio single. It’s a good song. I also think he could release “Lemonade” and “John Wayne.” I couldn’t believe “Bobbi with an I’” was part of this 11-track CD. Hasn’t that one been around for a while? And, it was not one of my favorite Phil Vassar songs (sorry, Phil).
“Tequila Town” is very much Phil Vassar, and you can tell when you hear that (and a few of the others) that Phil definitely had a hand in writing it. In fact, Phil wrote or co-wrote every song on this CD.
“She’s on Her Way,” is the sensitive, family side of Phil. If I could pick all the Phil Vassar songs that I want on one CD – to listen to over and over again when I’m tired, or alone, or just thinking back on years gone by … this would be one of those songs. “A Year From Now” is sad – at least I think it is – it’s one of those typical ‘boy loses girl’ kind of songs. You have to figure out how you’re going to get along without her. It’s pretty, it’s slow, it’s good. “I Will Remember You” is that kind of song, too.
The last song on the CD is definitely Phil. It’s called “Where Have All the Pianos Gone,” and with Phil being the piano man that he is … I don’t think anyone else would be able to do that song like he can. It’s like something he had to write for himself. Anyone who has ever seen Phil in concert knows what that mean. He works so well behind that piano. Another good song.
That brings me to the very first song, which I just listened to again so I could say something about it. The song title is “Life”, and it’s obviously the reason for the CD title – it starts with a circus ringmaster announcing the big show (well, sort of), and when you get past that, Phil starts his song, “Life”. And it is my least favorite on the CD. I’m not saying I hate it – but it’s one I hope he does not release as a single, and it’s one that I might skip over from time to time when I push this CD into the player. But you know what else it sounds like to me? It sounds like background music for a cartoon. I can just envision these huge cartoon cats of something, jumping up in the background going “Life” every tie Phil says it… with a whole lot of cat dancing in between the words “Life, Life, Life.”
My overall opinion of the CD – definitely worth the money. And a must for any Phil Vassar fan. He couldn’t have timed the release any better. I have several Phil fans on my Christmas shopping list who will be getting this CD for Christmas this year.
Going to close this with one of my favorite Phil Vassar songs – here’s “Carlene”. Talk about someone who has changed a bit over the years … look at Phil’s hair. But, I definitely remember when he wore it like that. Enjoy the video.
And speaking of hair … I’ve actually got an appointment to get some of mine cut off today. So I’m going to head out in a little while and go visit my hair dresser. You guys enjoy your Saturday, I have a Christmas tree to put up!